Late Breaking News
- Categorized in: December 2009
GRANTS DESIGNED TO HELP STRENGTHEN THE IT WORKFORCE will be made available through the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency announced last month that $80 million would be allocated, with $70 million going to community college training programs and $10 million to develop educational materials to support those programs. Both programs will support the immediate need for skilled health IT professionals who will enable the broad adoption and use of health IT throughout the United States. The Community College program will establish intensive, non-degree training that can be completed in 6 months or less by individuals with some background in either health care or IT fields. Information about grant applications is available at www.healthIT.HHS.gov/HITECHgrants.
VA SECRETARY ERIK SHINSEKI VOWS TO STRENGTHEN THE VA’S PARTERNSHIP WITH MEDICAL SCHOOLS and other institutions training health professionals. His remarks, made last month, came on the heels of a report made by a blue-ribbon panel appointed to advise VA on the topic. Two recommendations made in the report were that VA form a federally-chartered advisory committee to help the agency realize its full potential in partnering with health professional schools, and that VA examine and streamline its policies and procedures that may impede those partnerships.
VA HAS MOVED PAYROLL PROCESSING TO THE DoD in an attempt to increase efficiency and enhance control. DoD’s Defense Finance and Accounting Service will now be in charge of managing the pay processes for VA employees. With nearly 298,000 employees, VA is now the largest civilian agency for which the DoD center processes payroll. According to VA, the transfer also included significant systems development due to what VA officials described as complex federal legislation for paying physicians, nurses and medical clinicians.
VA ROLLED OUT ITS NEW WEB RENOVATION last month, changing their main web site’s look dramatically in an attempt to make it easier for veterans to navigate. The agency’s long-term goals include focusing on topics and tasks rather than office function, improving the navigational structure to ensure consistency, and making it more visually appealing. The new web site design will cover more than 500 VA web sites and about 80,000 pages. Changes also include improvements in the navigational structure that provide consistency among all sites and consolidate major topics; a slide-show section that showcases current VA events or hot topics; and bottom columns that feature news items, highlights, and a “Quick List” with links directly to important applications such as Veterans On Line Applications and MyHealtheVet.
THE SENATE UNANIMOUSLY CONFIRMED PAMELA HYDE as Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) last month. Hyde served as secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department since 2003 and has 30 years of experience in management and consulting for public sector systems of health care and human services. She has held several public sector management positions, including director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the Ohio Department of Human Services, and the Seattle Department of Housing and Human Services. She previously served as a CEO of a private non-profit behavioral health care organization. Hyde is a member of or has served as a consultant to many national organizations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the American College of Mental Health Administration, and the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. She received a BA from Missouri State University and a JD from the University of Michigan. Eric Broderick, DDS, has been serving as acting SAMHSA Administrator since the fall of 2008.
ERIC GREEN, MD, PHD, HAS BEEN APPOINTED Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, made the announcement last month following a nationwide search. The position became vacant following Dr Collins advancement from that post to the NIH directorship. Doctor Green is currently the NHGRI scientific director and director of the NHGRI Division of Intramural Research. In addition to directing NISC and the NHGRI intramural research program, Dr Green has been chief of the Genome Technology Branch and head of that Branch’s Physical Mapping Section. Since the early 1990s, Dr Green’s research program has been at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence, and understand complex genomes. His work included significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project. More recently, Dr Green established a program in comparative genomics that involves the generation and analysis of sequences from targeted genomic regions in evolutionarily diverse species. The resulting data have provided new insights about vertebrate genome organization and evolution, and revealed how conserved sequences can be used to identify important functional genomic elements.